Response from Carolyn Bennett on her vote for Craig Scott's motion on PR

January 9, 2015

Canadian Electoral Alliance wrote a letter to Liberal MPs who voted for the December 3, 2014 Craig Scott's motion on Proportional Representation.   Here is the response from Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett.


Thank you for writing me regarding proportional representation.

The Liberal Party takes the issue of democratic reform very seriously.  It is an issue that our Leader campaigned on during his campaign for the Liberal leadership, and it is something that he has acted on since becoming Leader.

The Liberal Party has led the way in Parliament on the issue of Democratic Reform through our Open Parliament Plan, our principled opposition to the Unfair Elections Act, and through the introduction of C-613 which will open up the Board of Internal Economy and reform the Access to Information system so that information is open by default.

At the 2012 Liberal Biennial Convention in Ottawa, Liberals adopted a motion in favour of a preferential ballot for future elections.  The Liberal Party currently uses a preferential balloting system in leadership and riding nomination contests. 

At our most recent biennial convention in Montreal in 2014, a resolution was passed by the membership that called for an all-party study involving expert assistance and citizen participation to report to Parliament on electoral reforms. This will include, but is not limited to, a preferential ballot and/or a form of proportional representation.

We are committed to a full and robust review of our electoral system so that it delivers the government that Canadians deserve. I have long been an advocate of shifting our electoral system to a form of proportional representation.

The Liberal Party had a free vote on the recent proportional representation motion put forward by the NDP and I personally voted in favour of it. Many who voted against the bill expressed concern that it was too prescriptive in mandating the adoption of mixed-member proportional representation, rather than establishing a framework to engage Canadians about the most appropriate alternative electoral system among the many options available.  

I also believe electoral reform, while an essential part of the solution to our current democratic deficit, is not the only area we must reform. We also need to deal with 'Democracy Between Elections', Parliamentary Reform and Party Reform. You may be interested in reading the presentation I gave at a town hall on electoral reform on April 4, 2013, where I made this point forcefully. Click here to read it.

I look forward to the necessary and ongoing debate about needed reforms to our institutions to make them more relevant and responsive to Canadians.

Thank you again for taking the time to write me on this critical issue.


Hon. Carolyn Bennett, M.D., M.P.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Toronto-St. Paul's